Does Your Estate Plan Include Furry or Feathered Family Members?

Here’s a sad fact: The Humane Society of the United States estimates that as many as 100,000 to 500,000 pets end up in shelters, after their owners die or become incapacitated. So, while we spend upwards of $60 billion on food, supplies and veterinary care, says The National Law Review in “Estate Planning For Your Pets,” we also allow many beloved pets to end their lives in shelters.

The answer is to include your pet’s care in estate planning, just as we do for our family members. The first major consideration is to name who you would want to be responsible for your pet, if you should become incapacitated. Make sure that person is willing to take on the role of caretaker and that they have sufficient room in their homes (and their hearts) for your pets.

If they agree, then start by preparing a sheet with this basic information:

  • What does your pet eat? Do you give him/her treats, and if so, what kind?
  • Medical records for your pet: vaccinations, surgery, special medications.
  • The name of the veterinarian and any specialists.
  • What does your pet do, when she/he is nervous or anxious? What calms them down?
  • What other information would you want someone to know, in your absence?

Speak with your estate planning attorney to see if they have a “Pet Care Authorization” form. This is a form that is similar to something you would use for a child staying with a relative who might need care. The form would designate the agent to act on your behalf for a variety of situations, including medical care.

For planning for your pets after you die, you can designate a caretaker. This may be the same person who agreed to care for your pet, if you became incapacitated. You can do this in a last will and testament or a revocable living trust. You’ll also need to provide funding for the care of your pet.

You can use a trust as an alternative to an outright distribution of funds to the caretaker. The pet trust would be overseen by a named trustee, who would be responsible to ensure that funds are used to benefit your pet(s). Make sure to allot a reasonable amount of money to cover the cost of veterinary care, grooming, feeding, training and any additional expenses.

You don’t have to be a wealthy person to have this arrangement in place. It is simply a practical matter to ensure that your furry family members are taken care of, after you pass away. Another factor to consider: what is the average age expectancy of your pet? A parrot could easily live 60 to 80 years, and a horse could live for four decades. The care and feeding of a horse will be considerably higher, than for a golden retriever or house cat.

Speak with an estate planning attorney to learn how pet care can be built into your estate plan, so next time your pet welcomes you home you will know you’ve planned for their future.

Reference: The National Law Review (Feb. 18, 2019) “Estate Planning For Your Pets”

Suggested Key Terms: Pet Trusts, Beneficiaries, Trustees, Agent, Estate Planning Attorney

Digital Assets in Estate Planning: The Brave New World of Estate Planning

Cryptocurrency is almost mainstream, despite its complexity, says Insurance News Net in the article “Westchester County Elder Law Attorney… Sheds Light on Cryptocurrency in Estate Planning.” The IRS has made it clear that as far as federal taxation is concerned, Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies are to be treated as property. However, since cryptocurrency is not tangible property, how is it incorporated into an estate plan?

For starters, recordkeeping is extremely important for any cryptocurrency owner. Records need to be kept that are current and income taxes need to be paid on the transactions every single year. When the owner dies, the beneficiaries will receive the cryptocurrency at its current fair market value. The cost basis is stepped up to the date of death value and it is includable in the decedent’s taxable estate.

Here’s where it gets tricky. The name of the Bitcoin or cryptocurrency owner is not publicly recorded. Instead, ownership is tied to a specific Bitcoin address that can only be accessed by the person who holds two “digital keys.” These are not physical keys, but codes. One “key” is public, and the other key is private. The private key is the secret number that allows the spending of the cryptocurrency.

Both of these digital keys are stored in a “digital wallet,” which, just like the keys, is not an actual wallet but a system used to secure payment information and passwords.

One of the dangers of cryptocurrency is that unlike other financial assets, if that private key is somehow lost, there is no way that anyone can access the digital currency.

It should also be noted that cryptocurrency can be included as an asset in a last will and testament as well as a revocable or irrevocable trust. However, cryptocurrency is highly volatile, and its value may swing wildly.

The executor or trustee of an estate or trust must take steps to ensure that the estate or the trust is in compliance with the Prudent Investor Act. The holdings in the trust or the estate will need to be diversified with other types of investments. If this is not followed, even ownership of a small amount of cryptocurrency may lead to many issues with how the estate or trust was being managed.

Digital currency and digital assets are two relatively new areas for estate planning, although both have been in common usage for many years. As more boomers are dying, planning for these intangible assets has become more commonplace. Failing to have a plan or providing incorrect directions for how to handle digital assets, is becoming problematic for many individuals.

Speak with an estate planning attorney who has experience in digital and non-traditional assets to learn how to protect your heirs and your estate from losses associated with these new types of assets.

Reference: Insurance News Net (Feb. 25, 2019) “Westchester County Elder Law Attorney… Sheds Light on Cryptocurrency in Estate Planning”

Suggested Key Terms: Digital Assets, Estate Planning, Elder Law Attorney, Cryptocurrency, Digital Keys

How a Government Pension Can Cut Your Social Security Benefits

If you work as a public service employee who will receive a government pension and you also qualify for Social Security retirement benefits, you might be “unpleasantly” surprised to learn that you will not get to collect the full amount of both when you retire one day. Many people consider it unfair that the government will take away something they worked years to earn. There are many people who are unaware of how a government pension can cut your Social Security benefits, and they are counting on receiving both sources of income when they retire.

Let’s say you worked as a teacher throughout your career. You worked enough years to qualify for a teacher’s pension from the government. You did not have to pay Social Security taxes on those earnings to qualify for the pension. You also worked a side job in the private sector. Your employer withheld Social Security taxes from your second job paycheck. You worked in the private sector long enough to qualify for Social Security retirement benefits.

When you retire, you will not receive both your teacher’s pension from the government and the full amount of Social Security retirement benefits that you qualify for from your second job. If you did not work a second job that paid into the Social Security system, but you qualify for Social Security retirement benefits based on the earnings record of your spouse, you will not receive that full amount either.

There are two federal rules that will take away a chunk of your retirement benefits:

The Windfall Elimination Provision (WEP) applies to people who receive government pensions. This law changes the amount you will receive, when you apply for Social Security retirement, spousal, or disability benefits.

In response to the argument that reducing these benefits because of the government pension is unfair, proponents of the rule say that WEP actually helps to preserve a basic assumption that underlies Social Security. This assumption is that people who did not earn much money throughout their careers, should receive a higher amount of benefits relative to their income than people who were high earners.

Since the work you did that qualified you for the government pension did not count toward Social Security, the amount of earnings you had in your private sector job makes it appear, incorrectly, that you were a low earner throughout your career. Because your total earnings in your government and private sector job would keep you out of the low earner category, you should not receive the extra help that a low earner needs.

If you fall under the WEP rule, the Social Security Administration can only reduce your Social Security retirement benefits, by up to half of the amount of your government pension. Of course, if you have a substantial government pension and would qualify for a small Social Security retirement check, half of your government pension could completely wipe out your Social Security check.

It is important to understand that WEP does not apply to survivor benefits. The second rule that applies to government pensions and Social Security benefits, however, could reduce the amount of Social Security payment that your dependents would receive in survivor benefits.

The Government Pension Offset (GPO) applies to people who qualify for Social Security benefits through their spouse’s earnings history and have a government pension based on their own job. In this situation, the government can reduce your Social Security spousal or survivor benefits by up to two-thirds of the amount of your government pension. As with the WEP rule, the GPO can reduce your Social Security benefit to nothing.

Your local elder law attorney can answer your questions about government pensions and Social Security.

References:

AARP. “Why Public Servants Feel Cheated by Social Security.” (accessed February 28, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/retirement/social-security/info-2019/public-servant-pensions.html

Suggested Key Terms: government pensions and Social Security, how government pension affects Social Security benefits

How to Combat Elder Financial Abuse

One estimate is that the amount of elder financial fraud is $30 billion a year, defining it as the theft of money by thieves who include con artists, strangers, caregivers or trusted friends or family members. According to Consumer Reports, in the article “3 Critical Ways to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse,” these crimes are often not reported. Sometimes, the seniors are too embarrassed to admit that they were fooled, or they don’t want to put a family member at risk. They often don’t know they have been scammed, or are physically unable to articulate what has happened to them.

This is starting to change, as banks are starting to increase their reporting of suspected elder financial abuse. Last year, U.S. banks reported roughly 25,000 cases of suspected elder financial abuse to the U.S. Treasury. That’s more than double the amount reported in 2013, as reflected in data from the U.S. Treasury department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Bureau.

One reason behind the surge is demographics: although the baby boomers are getting older, they have a tremendous amount of assets and are vulnerable to being defrauded.

However, the increase in reported cases may also be bolstered by big pushes from the federal government, states, and the financial industry to fight elder financial abuse. New regulations are now in place to encourage people who are on the front lines for elder abuse: brokers, bankers and financial advisors.

FINRA, the self-regulatory agency that oversees brokers, now requires them to ask clients, no matter how young or old, to provide the name and contact information for a trusted family member or friend. If the broker believes that person is being exploited, they have someone to contact. The new regulations also allow brokers to put a hold on withdrawals from a client’s account, if they believe there may be elder financial abuse occurring. The hold is for 15 days but can be extended 10 more days.

From the federal government, the Senior Safe Act became law in 2018. It enables the employees of any financial institutions to report concerns about elder abuse, without fear of being held liable for disclosing private information. To qualify for this protection, financial institutions are required to provide training to staff about recognizing the abuse. At the state level, NASAA (the North American Securities Administrators Association, a group of state regulators) adopted a rule in 2016 which mandates that brokers and financial advisors report any suspected abuse to state authorities. The rule also allows them to stop withdrawals on accounts and protects brokers and advisors from liability, if they stop account disbursement. Sixteen states have enacted versions of the rule, and there are six more states working on legislation.

On a more personal level, there are three things family members and friends can do to prevent elder financial abuse. One is to stay in touch and ask questions of aging parents. Isolation and cognitive impairment are the biggest risk factors. Make sure that your parent is keeping up with bill paying, and whether he or she is in contact with new friends, strangers who may not have their best interests in mind.

If your parent is willing, start by offering to help with a few financial tasks, like bill paying. Keep it low key, by including a visit with the task. If you see things are not being handled well, stay on top of it.

Another step is to set up checks and balances, by making sure that critical legal documents are in place. There should be a will, a healthcare proxy, a HIPAA release form and a durable power of attorney. The durable power of attorney will let you pay bills and manage finances, if and when they can no longer manage. If there is no will or estate plan in place, make an appointment for your parent with a qualified estate planning attorney as soon as possible.

Consider streamlining aging parent’s finances. If they have too many credit cards and too many bank accounts, it may make things easier if they can pare things down to one bank and one credit card. Be very careful with retirement accounts, like 401(k)s and IRAs, to avoid any taxes and penalties.

Simplifying money management and being involved with your parent’s finances and their lives can help prevent financial elder abuse.

Reference: Consumer Reports (Feb. 22, 2019) “3 Critical Ways to Prevent Elder Financial Abuse”

Suggested Key Terms: Elder Financial Abuse, Baby Boomers, Fraud, Healthcare Proxy, HIPAA, Senior Safe Act

Why Is a Revocable Trust So Valuable in Estate Planning?

There’s quite a bit that a trust can do to solve big estate planning and tax problems for many families.

As Forbes explains in its recent article, “Revocable Trusts: The Swiss Army Knife Of Financial Planning,” trusts are a critical component of a proper estate plan. There are three parties to a trust: the owner of some property (settler or grantor) turns it over to a trusted person or organization (trustee) under a trust arrangement to hold and manage for the benefit of someone (the beneficiary). A written trust document will spell out the terms of the arrangement.

One of the most useful trusts is a revocable trust (inter vivos) where the grantor creates a trust, funds it, manages it by herself, and has unrestricted rights to the trust assets (corpus). The grantor has the right at any point to revoke the trust, by simply tearing up the document and reclaiming the assets, or perhaps modifying the trust to accomplish other estate planning goals.

After discussing trusts with your attorney, he or she will draft the trust document and re-title property to the trust. The assets transferred to a revocable trust can be reclaimed at any time. The grantor has unrestricted rights to the property. During the life of the grantor, the trust provides protection and management, if and when it’s needed.

Let’s examine the potential lifetime and estate planning benefits that can be incorporated into the trust:

  • Lifetime Benefits. If the grantor is unable or uninterested in managing the trust, the grantor can hire an investment advisor to manage the account in one of the major discount brokerages, or he can appoint a trust company to act for him.
  • Incapacity. A trusted spouse, child, or friend can be named to care for and represent the needs of the grantor/beneficiary. She will manage the assets during incapacity, without having to declare the grantor incompetent and petitioning for a guardianship. After the grantor has recovered, she can resume the duties as trustee.
  • This can be a stressful legal proceeding that makes the grantor a ward of the state. This proceeding can be expensive, public, humiliating, restrictive and burdensome. However, a well-drafted trust (along with powers of attorney) avoids this.

The revocable trust is a great tool for estate planning because it bypasses probate, which can mean considerably less expense, stress and time.

In addition to a trust, ask your attorney about the rest of your estate plan: a will, powers of attorney, medical directives and other considerations.

Any trust should be created by a very competent trust attorney, after a discussion about what you want to accomplish.

Reference: Forbes (February 20, 2019) “Revocable Trusts: The Swiss Army Knife Of Financial Planning”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Planning Lawyer, Wills, Trusts, Trustee, Probate Court, Inheritance, Power of Attorney, Healthcare Directive, Living Will, Tax Planning, Guardianship

What Are The Details on Bernie Sanders Estate Tax Bill?

Senate Bill 309 was introduced by Senator Bernie Sanders in January. It is also called the “For the 99.8 Percent Tax.” The proposed legislation would establish a tax of 45% of the value of estates valued between $3.5 million and $10 million.

Rubber & Plastics News reported in “Bernie Sanders introduces bill to re-establish estate tax threshold” that the 77% tax rate would be assessed only on estates worth more than $1 billion, according to the bill. The rate would be 50% for estates assessed between $10 million and $50 million, and 55% for estates between $50 million and $1 billion.

“At a time of massive wealth and income inequality, when the three richest Americans own more wealth than 160 million Americans, it is literally beyond belief that the Republican leadership wants to provide hundreds of billions of dollars in tax breaks to the top 0.2 percent,” Sanders said in a statement accompanying the introduction of S. 309.

“Our bill does what the American people want, by substantially increasing the estate tax on the wealthiest families in this country and substantially reducing wealth inequality,” he said.

Since 2017, the estate tax exemption has been $11.4 million for individuals and $22.8 million for couples. However, that rate is scheduled to expire at the end of 2025.

Sanders’ bill seeks to limit estate planning techniques that help small business owners keep their businesses in the family, such as gifts of interest in a family business to younger family members, says opponents.

The bill would also be inherently unfair to small businesses, even more so than current estate tax law, one association said.

Senate Bill 309 was introduced after the Death Tax Repeal Act of 2019 was introduced. That bill would totally repeal estate taxes. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-S.D.), and Senate Finance Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) were the co-sponsors, joined by 26 other Senate Republicans.

Reference: Rubber & Plastics News (February 25, 2019) “Bernie Sanders introduces bill to re-establish estate tax threshold”

Suggested Key Terms: Estate Tax, Legislation

Making an IRA Part of the Estate Plan

Most people use their IRAs (Individual Retirement Accounts) for retirement income. However, a lucky group find themselves not needing the money from their IRA accounts. Instead, the assets become part of a legacy that they leave to heirs. That is why most IRA accounts include the name of a beneficiary who could inherit these accounts, when the owner passes away, reports the Oakdale Leader in the article “Leaving An IRA As An Inheritance.”

If no beneficiary is named, things can get complicated for both the estate and the heirs. If the IRA has a named beneficiary, but the will names someone else to receive the IRA, the beneficiary named in the IRA is the one who receives the asset. The named beneficiary in any account and especially an IRA, supersedes the will, in almost every instance.

Anytime there is a significant event, often called a “trigger” event, like a divorce, marriage or birth, the estate plan and all accounts with named beneficiaries should be reviewed. This is to ensure that the assets go where the owner wants them, and not to an unintended heir, like an ex-spouse.

There are special rules for spouses, where IRAs are concerned. Married couples typically name each other as beneficiaries on their IRAs. A surviving spouse has certain decisions to make when inheriting an IRA. The IRA may be rolled over into a new or existing IRA in the spouse’s own name. Taking this route depends upon the age of the spouse and the need for the money.

Sometimes, it is appropriate to name a trust as a beneficiary of an IRA. However, you must be careful that your trust will qualify as a “designated beneficiary trust” to avoid negative tax consequences if naming it as a beneficiary. Typically naming a trust as a beneficiary is needed when you want to leave an IRA to a minor child, someone with disabilities, or if you want to restrict or control the distributions to your beneficiaries.

To maximize the growth of the IRA, children or grandchildren can be named as IRA beneficiaries. They will need to start taking annual Required Minimum Distributions (RMDs) immediately, and the distributions will be taxable. However, the amount of the RMD will be based on their anticipated lifetimes, so the taxable distributions will be relatively small. The money in the account will have many years to grow.

When children or grandchildren are named as contingent beneficiaries, a surviving spouse has the option to disclaim the IRA, which allows the children or grandchildren to inherit the IRA and enjoy the tax-free years of growth.

Reference: Oakdale Leader (February 19, 2019) “Leaving An IRA As An Inheritance”

Suggested Key Terms: Individual Retirement Account, Required Minimum Distributions, RMDs, Beneficiaries, Roth IRA, Surviving Spouse, Charitable Giving, Inherited IRA, Heirs

Iconic Designer Leaves a Fortune for Beloved Cat

The Burmese cat owned by Lagerfeld stands to inherit a sizable amount of the designer’s fortune, estimated at some $300 million, according to a report from CBS News titled “Karl Lagerfeld’s cat to inherit a fortune, but may not be richest pet.” The cat, named Choupette, was written into his will in 2015, according to the French newspaper Le Figaro.

Before Lagerfeld died on Feb. 19, the cat already had an income of her own, appearing in ads for cars and beauty products. She has nearly 250,000 followers on Instagram and is an ambassador for Opel, the French car maker. She is also the subject of two books. Choupette has had her own line of makeup for the beauty brand Shu Uemura.

Lagerfeld was a German citizen, but he and Choupette were residents of France, where the law prohibits pets from inheriting their human owner’s wealth. German law does permit a person’s wealth to be transferred to an animal.

There are three approaches that Lagerfeld might have taken to ensure that his beloved cat would be assured of her lifestyle, after his passing. One would have been to create a foundation, whose sole mission is to care for the cat, with a director who would receive funds for Choupette’s care.

A second way would be to donate money to an existing nonprofit and stipulate that funds be used for the cat’s care. A third would be to leave the cat to a trusted individual, with a gift of cash that was earmarked for her care.

It is not uncommon today for people to have pet trusts created to ensure that their furry friends enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, after their humans have passed. Estate laws in the U.S. vary by state, but they always require that a human have oversight over any funds or assets entrusted to a pet. Courts also have a say in this. There are reasonable limits on what a person can leave to a pet. A court may not honor a will that seeks to leave millions for the care of a pet. However, it has happened before.

Real estate tycoon Leona Hemsley left many people stunned, when she left $12 million for her Maltese dog. In 1991, German countess Carlotta Liebenstein left her dog Gunther IV a princely sum of $80 million. To date, Gunther remains number one on the “Top Richest Pets” list.

For pets who are beloved parts of regular families and not millionaires in their own right, an estate planning attorney will be able to help you plan for your pet’s well-being, if it should outlive you. Some states permit the use of a pet trust, and a no-kill shelter may have a plan for lifetime care for your pet. You’ll need to make a plan for a secure place for your pet and provide necessary funds for food, shelter, and medical care.

Reference: CBS News (Feb. 21, 2019) “Karl Lagerfeld’s cat to inherit a fortune, but may not be richest pet”

Suggested Key Terms: Inherit, Karl Lagerfeld, Choupette, Pet Trusts, Estate Planning

How Seniors Can Spot Work-at-Home Scams

Many people want to bring in a little extra money in retirement. Working from home seems like an ideal way to do that. You can earn some income, without having to dress in uncomfortable clothes or fight traffic jams to commute to the office. Scammers know how appealing this scenario sounds, so they develop ways to rip off hard-working older Americans. Here are some tips on how seniors can spot work-at-home scams.

According to the Better Business Bureau, most offers to work from home are actually fraudulent schemes that will cause you to lose money, not make it. The typical victim of these scams will lose about $800. Offers involving these activities are usually from con artists:

  • Assembling crafts
  • Typing
  • Data entry
  • Completing online surveys
  • Stuffing envelopes
  • Doing billing for medical offices

The scams will ask you to spend money upfront on things like:

  • Materials
  • Supplies
  • Training
  • Coaching
  • Leads to get clients

Red Flags That the Opportunity Is a Rip-off

Legitimate job offers do not require you to recruit more people into the scheme. However, many fraudulent set-ups do. If the advertisement sounds too good to be true, it probably is. For example, the ad promises that your upfront investment will pay itself off quickly with high income that requires very little effort by you. Con games also often claim that you do not need any job skills or experience to make lots of money.

How to Protect Yourself from Fraudulent Work-at-Home Schemes

It can be difficult to identify which job opportunities are legitimate and which are scams. Here are some steps you can take to keep from becoming a victim of a con:

  • Check out the company with the Better Business Bureau, both in the city where the company is located and in your town. Of course, if the advertisement does not provide an office address you can easily verify, that is not a good sign.
  • Contact your state’s consumer protection agency and Attorney General’s office to find out if people have filed complaints against the organization or if they are under investigation.
  • If the company does not yet have complaints against it, that could be because it is a new scheme. Con artists tend to change their business names frequently, just as telemarketers use many different phone numbers.
  • Be skeptical of testimonials in the advertisement or on the company’s website. There is an entire industry of fake testimonials.
  • Never pay any money or sign an agreement, without first doing a thorough investigation of the company.
  • Do not trust a job offer, just because it appeared in a reputable magazine, newspaper, or online job board.
  • Insist that the company put in writing when and how you will get compensation, and all costs you might have to incur. Make sure that you understand whether your payment will be salary or commission.
  • Instead of answering ads, which are almost always scams, list with a legitimate jobs board. Realize, however, that con artists can and do contact people on those sites.

If you become the victim of a scam, a lawyer might be able to help you get some of your money back from the con artists.

References:

AARP. “Work-at-Home Scams.” (accessed February 14, 2019) https://www.aarp.org/money/scams-fraud/info-2019/work-at-home.html

Suggested Key Terms: how to spot fraudulent work-at-home schemes, avoid getting ripped off when working from home

How Do I Know When It’s Time to Retire?

Many senior workers are actually a little afraid of retirement, because they’ve heard too many horror stories about people who retire too soon and wind up outliving their nest eggs. This is reflected in a 2016 survey from the Transamerica Center for Retirement Studies, which found that 51% of American workers say their top retirement worry is outliving their investments and savings.

Here are the key indicators that you’re probably ready to retire, according to this recent article from Investopedia’s, “6 Signs That You Are OK to Retire.”

  1. Hit Your Full Retirement Age. If you were born between 1943 and 1954, your full retirement age is 66. If you were born after 1959, it’s 67. You can start claiming Social Security benefits as early as 62, but your benefits will be much higher, if you wait until your full retirement age.
  2. Retire Debt-Free. If you have a ton of credit card debt or still owe a lot on your home or car, you may want to wait to retire because when you’re on a fixed income, a big mortgage or car payment can put a major dent in your finances. Before you retire, pay off all your debts, if possible, and get on a budget.
  3. Not Financially Supporting Your Kids (or Parents). If your kids still live with you–or you’re paying for their college education–you probably should wait with your retirement plans. Likewise, it might be smart to delay retirement, if you’re financially responsible for your elderly parents. If that’s you, retirement probably isn’t an option until your situation changes.
  4. Make a Retirement Budget. Prior to retiring, calculate whether you can live comfortably on your post-retirement income. Add up your mandatory monthly costs, like a mortgage or rent, groceries and utilities. Next, add in your ‘wants,’ like travel, entertainment shopping and eating out. You can then determine whether you’ll have enough retirement savings to cover all of this. Add your Social Security payments, pension, retirement account distributions and any other sources of income. Your retirement budget (if you retire in your mid-60s) shouldn’t be more than 4% of your investments, plus Social Security and pension payments.
  5. Review Your Portfolio. You’re going to depend a lot on your investment portfolio in retirement. If you haven’t had a portfolio review in a while, do it soon. Reassess your portfolio and determine if you need to make any modifications. As you get close to retirement, you may want to move to lower-risk investment strategies to protect your wealth.
  6. Plan with Your Spouse. Unless you live alone, retirement will have a major effect on your spouse or partner. Retirement should be reviewed together. Look at how the reduction in income will affect your lifestyle, and consider what changes may need to occur to make it enjoyable for you both.

These are just the basic elements to determine when you’re ready for retirement. You should also think about how you’ll spend your days, where you want to live and whether most of your friends will still be working. All of these things could have a big effect on your general enjoyment of retirement.

Reference: Investopedia (June 1, 2018) “6 Signs That You Are OK to Retire”

Suggested Key Terms: Asset Protection, Financial Planning, IRA, 401(k), Pension, Retirement Planning, Social Security

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